Teva forms academic R&D pacts to further biopharma strategy

Teva Pharmaceutical has entered into a pair of research collaborations with Israeli institutions. The Israeli pharma will support work on anti-cancer antibodies at the Weizmann Institute of Science while collaborating with Tel Aviv University on oncology and brain studies.

Yeda Research and Development Company, the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute, negotiated the anti-cancer antibody deal with Teva, securing a package of financial support and collaborative input. Led by Rony Dahan, a group at the Weizmann Institute will work with Teva on the application of computational biology and single-cell analysis to cancer research.

Teva disclosed the collaboration on the same day it shared details of the agreement it has entered into with Tel Aviv University. That collaboration will see Teva and its academic partner use models to test the efficacy of immunotherapies and work to better understand neurological disorders.

The agreements with the Weizmann Institute and Tel Aviv University are part of a step up in Teva’s collaborative activities. Under the leadership of Kåre Schultz, Teva plans to enter into a “long chain” of partnerships with academic organizations in Israel over the coming months, reflecting a belief that leveraging connections in its home country will boost the biopharma business. 

“The decision to enhance collaboration with Israeli academia is due to the outstanding knowledge and innovation that characterize these institutions and its researchers, who are among the most talented worldwide,” Hafrun Fridriksdottir, Teva’s executive vice president for global R&D, said in a statement.

Teva laid the groundwork for the anticipated wave of collaborations by looking at 400 laboratories at Israeli academic centers over the past year. That work has now manifested in strategic collaborations such as the partnerships with the Weizmann Institute and Tel Aviv University.

The early-stage nature of the collaborations means the payoff for Teva is likely some way down the line. Schultz sees biopharmaceuticals as an important part of Teva’s future, leading him to oversee the creation of a portfolio of about 25 projects in the area. Teva is investing in early-stage research as part of the biopharma strategy.